John’s Top 5 Mega Dads Moments

image5It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since Adam and I sat around his dining room table and I pitched him the idea for the two of us creating a blog to write about video games. At the time it was a simple idea, we would write about the joys and struggles of being gamers as we got older and started our families. There were no podcasts, no convention appearances, no thoughts of building an amazing community of friends to share it all with. What we knew was that much of today’s games coverage was being created by and aimed at young people whose life experiences we were having an increasingly difficult time relating to, so we wanted to create a space for those of us who traded in midnight game launches and Call of Duty marathons for midnight bottle feeds and diapers full of doodie. We had no idea what Mega Dads would turn into (or if it would even last), but we knew that there were others like us out there looking for the same thing.

Mega Dads would go through many changes over the years. Some things didn’t work out, some things were much bigger than we anticipated, but it evolved and grew to be much more than we would have ever dreamed. Mega Dads has become a huge part of our everyday lives and there have been so many incredible moments over the years that it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few, but these five moments from the past five years probably stand out the most because each one of them is something that I never would have imagined happening when we were sitting around Adam’s table back in 2014.

photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Interviewing Cory Barlog From My Car

When I reached out to God of War Director Cory Barlog to say that we’d love to work with him on something for Mega Dads, my thought was that (aside from getting a no) if it did happen, it would probably be for the Gamer Spotlight. When a representative for Sony emailed me back I was shocked not only that Cory was interested in talking to me, but that he wanted to do it as a phone interview!

I was scared shitless and completely out of my element, but I made plenty of notes and found an app for recording phone calls. The trickiest part though was figuring out where to do it! He could only do it during office hours and I couldn’t take time off of my day job, so that meant that when the day came, I found myself sitting in my Ford Escape,  in the parking ramp across the street from my work, interviewing one of the biggest creators in gaming. Just another ordinary day for the Mega Dads.

Watching Gamer Spotlight Grow And Succeed

The entire premise of Mega Dads is to share our love of video games and family. An early idea that we had was to try and talk to people from around the games industry about those two passions. So the Gamer Spotlight was born in April of 2015 and I never imagined that it would take off the way it did, becoming one of the most popular features that we do.

It’s been astonishing to get to know moms and dads from all corners of the industry that I’ve followed and respected for years. Patrick Klepek, Jessica Chobot, Gary Whitta, Michael Pachter & Pete Hines are just a few of the folks that we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know over the years. Nearly every person I’ve reached out to about the series has been enthusiastically happy to be a part of it, and when I look at the collage of faces that we’ve had, I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve created together.

2D Con 2018 Live Show

We’ve been involved with the local Twin Cities gaming convention 2D Con for a few years now, having a table at the show to promote the website and Adam creating their program and badge artwork. In fact, when they first reached out to us a few years ago about being guests at their show it was a defining moment for us, a sign that we were beginning to grow a small following.

In 2017 we took a huge leap and held our first ever show in front of a live audience at the convention. It was genuinely terrifying but went pretty well, we had a modest turnout and people seemed somewhat entertained. It was last years show however that really left me feeling like we had found our groove. We managed to attract an even bigger audience and had an absolute blast with them, even bringing someone up on stage to play Real or BS with us. I don’t think we’re quite ready to go on our stadium tour, but it was the most fun I’d had in awhile and left me excited for what hopefully becomes a yearly tradition.

2D Con 2018

Extra Life 2018

Extra Life is a charity that Adam and I have been proud to be involved with for the past 5 years. Each November we play games all day and raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. It’s hands down my favorite event of the year and last year’s gameday was the most fun (and successful) one yet. We expanded our team to include our friends Chris Berto and Antonio Guillen, had incredible sponsorship from major companies like Xbox and Bioware, played games with friends from the Mega Dads community, held a 2+ hour Rock Band concert in full costume, and ended up blowing our fundraising goal out of the water, raising $1700 for children and their families. Mega Dads and our community have given me so much over the years, it’s an absolute joy to be able to give something back to families who really need it. Thank you to everybody who has been so generous over the years.

Attending My First E3

Of course no list of Mega Dads memories would be complete without the E3 Expo in Los Angeles. Going to E3 for the very first time was a truly emotional experience. It was not only the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, but it was a validation of all of the long hours and hard work that goes into creating Mega Dads. It was also a week of high anxiety, sprinting to appointments, and $10 slices of pizza, but you gotta take the bad with the good.

Getting to meet and chat with people like Neil Druckmann, Ben Silverman, Ted Price and Victor Lucas was a truly mind blowing experience. Going to the show as members of the press and getting to go behind closed doors to experience the biggest upcoming games really made me feel like we’d succeeded in what we set out to do all those years ago, and it’s a feeling I’ll never forget. It’s something I never thought I’d be able to check off of my bucket list. Thank you to our friend Reed for making it all happen.

E3 2017 with Charles Martinet

Mega Dads has meant so much to me. Not only has it been a creative outlet that has satisfied a part of me that my normal 9 to 5 cannot, but it has introduced me to an amazing group of people who not only listen to our shows and read my stories, but with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work with on multiple occasions and am proud to call my friends. These past five years have created some of the best memories of my entire life and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for our little blog.

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